Benfica are braced for another bid from Chelsea to try and sign World Cup star Enzo Fernandez, 90min understands.
The Blues pushed hard to sign the 22-year-old earlier in the winter but irritated Benfica with their refusal to trigger his £106m release clause, and the Portuguese side even went public to accuse Chelsea of ‘disrespect’.
Talks between the two clubs have cooled since then but 90min understands that Fernandez’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has remained in contact with both Chelsea and Benfica in an attempt to thrash out an agreement.
Sources have confirmed that Fernandez remains incredibly keen to join Chelsea. The Argentina midfielder missed Benfica training earlier this month in an attempt to force through a move but has been back with his team for the past few weeks, although his desire to leave remains.
Publicly, Benfica have warned Chelsea that they must trigger Fernandez’s release clause to get a deal done, although 90min understands that the Portuguese side would be open to receiving the fee in instalments if the initial payment was significant – something Chelsea have so far refused to offer.
Chelsea are now expected to renew their efforts to land Fernandez, with sources close to the Portuguese side telling 90min that Benfica are expecting a phone call from the Blues in the coming days.
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Those in charge at Stamford Bridge are well aware of Fernandez’s desire to make the move and are equally as keen to reach an agreement, but having already splashed out close to £200m in the winter window on Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos and Benoit Badiashile, Chelsea are looking to save as much money as possible.
The Blues have explored cheaper alternatives to Fernandez this month but have been rebuffed after enquiries over Barcelona’s Franck Kessie, Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and Tottenham’s Yves Bissouma.
90min understands that Chelsea have also looked into a deal for Everton midfielder Amadou Onana, who has impressed since his summer move to Goodison Park and could be offered the chance to leave the relegation-threatened Toffees this month.